Bethanie Mattek-Sands and CoCo Vandeweghe christened their new doubles partnership with a title at the BNP Paribas Open, rallying back from a set down to defeat Julia Goerges and Karolina Pliskova.

Published March 19, 2016 12:14 –

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA – Bethanie Mattek-Sands and CoCo Vandeweghe couldn’t have asked for a more perfect WTA debut to their newly-minted doubles partnership – the Americans rallied back from a set down to defeat Julia Goerges and Karolina Pliskova and claim the doubles title at the BNP Paribas Open.

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“It’s pretty special for me. It’s my first doubles title, and to win it on home soil with an American is very special,” Vandeweghe said during the trophy ceremony. The title vaults the native Californian to No.25 in doubles, while Mattek-Sands will return to her career high ranking of No.3.

Both teams in the final were unseeded, the first time since 2009 that two unseeded teams faced off for the BNP Paribas Open doubles trophy.

Doubles debutantes Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe, who are bidding for an Olympic spot later in the year, were up against another relatively new team in Goerges-Pliskova. Though the 2016 BNP Paribas Open marks their fourth outing as a team, the Czech-German partnership has been quite successful. They’ve always reached at least the quarterfinal stage in all the events they’ve played together.

Goerges and Pliskova drew first blood against the Americans, breaking Vandeweghe’s serve to start the match. The big-hitting Vandeweghe’s serves can rarely be called vulnerable – in fact she’s known for having one of the strongest serves on tour – but Goerges’ backhands were deadly, beating her for pace and breaking her twice in the first set.

With Goerges serving for the set at 5-3, the German thought she’d hit an ace to take the set. But after a half-hearted challenge from the Americans revealed it was out, a Mattek-Sand’s swing volley wove up the middle of Goerges-Pliskova and gave them the game. With the momentum behind the Americans, Vandeweghe was able to hold serve for the first time to keep them in the set, but Pliskova’s powerful groundstrokes erased any ideas of a comeback and the Czech-German duo took the first set.

With the Indian Wells crowd firmly cheering for the locals, the Americans kept toe-to-toe with their opponents throughout the next set and keep the pressure on. Eventually it was Goerges and Pliskova who blinked first, a Pliskova forehand sailing long bringing up 2 set points for the Americans and a double fault from Goerges giving them the second set.

Mattek-Sands and Vandeweghe grabbed an early mini-break in the final tiebreak, and though Pliskova and Goerges through everything they had at the Americans but they didn’t give up their lead. When it came time for her to serve for the match, Vandeweghe’s serve didn’t falter and a punishing smash from Mattek-Sands sealed the victory and the pair’s first doubles title.

Afterwards, the Americans gave a lot of credit to the crowd for keeping them in the match.

“All week long we’ve had great fan support, which is so cool,” Mattek-Sands said afterwards. “As two Americans together, the support was awesome.

“It’s always special coming back here to Indian Wells, it’s kind of like our home tournament. We’ll be back next year for sure.”